Recently, my dad sent me an image with a Friedrich Nietzsche quote. I’m not sure why he sent it. He didn’t say anything in the email. He just sent the quote. I could ask him what the point was, but I feel pretty sure in saying that he sent it because it reminded him of me. I’m the one in our family that is dancing to the music only I can hear. I know it. I guess he knows it. I’m different, and that is ok.
I’m doing my own thing that many people don’t seem to understand.
And the truth is, I am different in many other ways from those who surround me. I’m socially awkward, I’m an extreme introvert, I’m a homeschooler (becoming more common, and yet still so uncommon), I’m an unapologetic Christian (society frowns on that these days); and in a great many other ways, I just don’t like to conform to the norm.
In other words, I tend to march to the beat of a very different drummer.
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
Henry David Thoreau
And sometimes, I just don’t feel like I belong anywhere.
I can sit in my house, staring out the window, knowing this is home… but I don’t feel at home. My husband has said in the past that he thinks I just won’t be happy anywhere, but I don’t think that’s really true. I just haven’t found that sense of belonging.
But one thing that I have found is that the minimalist lifestyle helps me. It helps me to have a focus on what matters. I’ve found that minimizing distractions and living a more intentional life has helped me to stop comparing my life to others and to start accepting that I am different. It has helped me to start accepting not just who I am, but how I am.
And I think that distinction is incredibly important. Life isn’t all about who you are. How you are is equally, if not more, important.
For example, I am a Christian. It’s part of who I am. But how am I in that respect? For me, it’s not just a label. It’s not just a church experience or a prayer I said. It’s not just music I listen to or books I read. It is my life. How I am is a direct reflection of my relationship with Christ. I am a believer and I choose to try hard to live my life in a way that shows that – it is how I am.
Another example, I am socially awkward. I get nervous, I can start stuttering, I have extreme anxiety (social anxiety as diagnosed by a medical doctor), I don’t like being in large crowds or groups. I’m not big on new places or new people. I feel like I never know what to say or do… it’s not just who I am; this is how I am. And I’m ok with that.
Part of minimalism is realizing what works and want doesn’t work in your life. There is so much more involved than possessions. Life experiences can be minimized as well. I minimize the amount of social interaction I have. I’m not a hermit, but I’m also not a person who joins all the things. I would much rather go explore a river or canyon than go to a town festival. That is how I am, and minimalism has helped me to realize that it is ok to be like that. Once I started getting rid of the excess in life, I realized it was absolutely fine to just be me.
I have finally been able to accept how I am.
I still wonder if I will ever find that sense of belonging, though. I wonder if I will ever find my place in this life. That’s part of why I am blogging – it’s like how that Brad Paisley song goes, “I’m so much cooler online.”
Yep, that’s me.
And I may be laughing at myself with that, but it is fairly accurate.
Even so, one other thing minimalism has taught me is that there is always room for growth. Ditching distractions – not only in the form of possessions, but also in life experiences and thoughts – has cleared out a lot of space for growth. I’ll keep trying to find where I belong in this world, and I’ll keep dancing to the music only I can hear. There’s room for both now.